TEAL Exhibitions

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Sponsored by a grant of the Friends of the UW Libraries, this exhibition was originally designed to be displayed in Allen Library on the University of Washington Seattle campus between May 12th and June 26, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the UW campus was closed and classes and library services moved online. Instead of further delay the exhibition, we have converted it to an online exhibition. The purpose of the display is to introduce the fascinating history of the Jewish communities in China, especially the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng, which was the capital city of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and is located in today’s Henan Province. The sources used in this exhibition are secondary sources. The content was mostly derived from existing research and publications.  Many narratives, captions, and images are directly quoted from published works. All material used in this exhibition is listed in the Bibliography.

This exhibition was also inspired by Rabbi Anson H. Laytner, president of the Sino-Judaic Institute and longtime editor of its journal Points East. Rabbi Laytner visited the Tateuchi East Asia Library to view the rubbings of steles of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng and donated his book The Chinese Jews of Kaifeng and a full run of the journal Points East. It was Rabbi Laytner who introduced the fascinating story of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng to us.

This exhibition targets the general audience who have little background knowledge of the subject.  Its purpose is to present the story of the Jewish communities in China, how they interacted with the local cultures and life, and what has become of them eventually. We believe this story will enrich our understanding of both Jewish and Chinese history and cultures.

Ms. Shuqi YE, a student specialist at TEAL and graduate student from UW iSchool, took on the responsibility to curate the exhibition.  Upon receiving general directions of the project, Shuqi set out and conducted a significant amount of reading and research to learn the subject and design the exhibition. She created thirty-four posters for the exhibition, which she then converted to this online exhibition using Omeka. Through her hard work and diligent curation, Ms. Ye has presented an exciting display based on the research results of many scholars to tell vividly the story of the Jews in China.  We hope it will serve as an educational medium to introduce this fascinating history to our audience.

Zhijia Shen